each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed, and her
makeup perfectly applied, in spite of the fact she is legally blind.
Today she has moved to a nursing home. Her husband of 70 years recently
passed away, making this move necessary.
After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home,
where I am employed, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she
maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of
her tiny room, including the eyelet curtains that had been hung on her
“I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just
been presented with a new puppy.
“Mrs.. Jones, you haven’t seen the room … just wait,” I said. Then she
spoke these words that I will never forget.
“That does not have anything to do with it,” she gently replied. “Happiness
is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not does
not depend on how the furniture is arranged. It is how I arrange my mind. I
have already decided to love it. It is a decision I make every morning when
I wake up. I have a choice. I can spend the day in bed recounting the
difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or I can
get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do work. Each day is a
gift, and as long as my eyes open, I will focus on the new day and all of
the happy memories I have stored away… just for this time in my life. Age
is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you have already put in.”